Friday 1 December 2017

Victor Thomson, 2/RS

I was contacted by Allan Thomson whose grandfather Victor Thomson fought with 'D' Coy 2/RS in the Battle for Hong Kong.  'D' Coy was commanded by Captain David Pinkerton who was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry but many thought should have been awarded the Victoria Cross for his consistent gallantry and leadership throughout the battle. Captain Pinkerton continued his army career after the war and was killed in Egypt by a sniper's bullet in 1956 during the Suez incident. 'D' Coy fought with absolute distinction and were always in the thick of the action. Allan writes that his grandfather fought at Golden Hill, Wong Nai Chung Gap, Mount Nicholson and Mount Cameron. He  survived the brutal incarceration in POW Camps and he survived the tragedy of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru. Allan sent these photos of his grandfather.  I publish these photographs as a tribute to a brave soldier.  The Royal Scots bore the brunt of the action on the Mainland and their attacks against much stronger enemy forces on the Island were nothing but gallant.

Victor Thomson joined a territorial battalion of Argyll Sutherland Highlanders before joining the Royal Scots.

In fighting order

Post war - serving with the Royal Engineers


Vandalism at Brigadier Lawson's Bunkers (2017)

After the evacuation of troops from the Mainland, Brigadier Lawson assumed command of West Infantry Brigade and Brigadier Wallis took command of East Infantry Brigade. The Japanese landed on the Island on the night of 18 December 1941. The next morning Brigadier Lawson found that his Brigade HQ bunkers had become part of the front line and his HQ was surrounded by Japanese troops who had seized Wong Nai Chung Gap (WNC Gap) earlier that morning. The bomb-proof shelters that were used as his HQ still remain beside a petrol station on WNC Gap Road. I often go there because it is part of the WNC Gap "Battle Trail" and I periodically conduct guided battlefield tours along this trail.  The shelters are sometimes referred to as Lawson's Bunker. In the spring of 2017,  the site was vandalised.  I had noticed that for a long time these bunkers had been strewn with rubbish, empty beer cans, cigarette-ends and all kinds of other junk. It had been used by children from the nearby French International School to smoke, drink, eat and congregate but they had shown no respect for this historic site. A place where so many had faced death including Brigadier Lawson.  The Antiquities & Monuments Office (AMO)  finally got round to tidying up the site and they deserved praise for doing a very good clear-up of this important site. It is a site which has special significance to Canadians. Lawson was the most senior Canadian officer to be killed in action in WW2. 

Soon after this, I felt quite outraged to find that the site had been vandalised by teenagers from the French International School. This time they had spray-painted the structures. The graffiti was in French and some of it obscene. One morning I managed to photograph one of the students smoking in the spray-painted shelter shown in the photograph below. This was the shelter closest to the road. Here the wounded had been moved in the hope of getting an ambulance to pick them up and here they had died. 

A bombproof structure that I think may have been a garage. 

One of the spray-painted bunkers protected by a blast wall. 
Spray-painted graffiti which is difficult to remove
The next set of photographs (courtesy of history enthusiast Alexander Macdonald) show the messy state of the site before the Antiquities and Monuments Office  (AMO) clear-up.

The garage full of junk
Litter and junk filling up the passageway

What a mess and this is a historic site.
What a difference was made after the tidy up by AMO - see the photographs below marred only by the mindless graffiti and fresh litter which appeared later.

After the clear-up by AMO
After the AMO clear-up but sadly after the vandalisation
I posted several of these photographs on my Facebook (FB) page and on the Battle of Hong Kong FB page. The Hong Kong Free Press wrote a story about it. There was widespread outrage and protest that these historic buildings should be treated like this. These structures are like war shrine because so many died at this spot. Brigadier lawson was buried at this site (later exhumed and reburied at Sai Wan military cemetery). Lawson, and those who fought here, and those who died here, deserved better than this. I wrote to the Headmaster of the French International School (FIS) and to the Executive Secretary of the AMO. The French International School and the French Consulate were also appalled and were very responsive. It was done by a small number of students. The AMO also responded positively.  They removed the graffiti and cleaned the place up. They have security guards located at the site and since this occurred in 2017 there has been no further reoccurrence of this.

At the time I met the Headmaster of FIS and a number of teachers in the history faculty both for French stream and English stream. I met some of the FIS students who that morning had been across to the site and tidied up the discarded litter. They did this of their own volition. They too were upset by what had happened and also by the negative publicity for their school caused by the thoughtless actions of a small handful of students. The school were anxious to work with AMO to restitute the damage. The restitution had to be effected by conservators because of the fragility for example of the steel doors. The school looked at one stage considered adopting the site, which is just across the road from their WNC Gap Road entrance, and keeping it clean and tidy and reporting any damage. This would have given the students a sense of ownership of the site. This I don't think ever happened. I did take one group of 6th formers around the war sites near their school to explain what happened and why these structures are important. I think the publicity by Hong Kong Free Press and other news outlets did some good because it highlights the need to protect and preserve these war ruins that still remain in many places around Hong Kong. The reaction showed that people care about these structures.  Another positive is that the students at FIS will have a much better understanding of what these buildings are and what happened in the Battle for Hong Kong in the area around their school and hopefully, these war ruins will be spared further damage and littering. 


Saturday 4 November 2017

Captain Ian Blair 2/14 Punjab Sgt.

I was in contact with Mark Burch whose grandfather Captain Ian James Blair served with 2nd Battalion 14th Punjab Regiment in the Battle for Hong Kong. The photograph below shows Captain Blair after liberation with a captured Japanese military sword.

Captain Ian Blair (Courtesy Mark Burch)
Ian Blair was born in Gisborne, New Zealand on 5 May 1915. As a young man he made his way to British East India, where, in 1937, he was employed by one of the sugar plantation companies operating near Chakia, in Bihar State. He joined the local Planters Light Horse militia and was later called up to serve in the British Indian Army.

In March 1938, at the age of twenty-three, he was commissioned into the Central India Horse (21st King George V's Own Horse), a regular British Indian Army cavalry regiment. He later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment. In October 1940, his battalion, which in 1941 was commanded by Lt-Col Gerald Kidd, was sent to Hong Kong.

When the Pacific war started in December 1941, Ian Blair was serving as a Captain in 'C' Coy which was commanded by Major George Gray. 'C' Coy was designated as Forward Troops and was based at Fan Ling to watch over the frontier also referred to as the "outer line." Their role when the war started was to guard the Royal Engineers demolitions teams who were carrying out demolitions at the frontier and on roads, railways, cuttings and bridges leading from the frontier towards Kowloon and the "inner line" of defence known as the Gin Drinkers Line. These demolitions were intended to slow the Japanese advance and buy time on the mainland to facilitate the destruction of infrastructure, oil facilities, ports and factories in Kowloon. In addition to guarding the demolition teams, 'C' Coy was to harass, disrupt and slow the enemy. Captain Blair's company of Punjabis were the first British troops to go into action against Japanese ground forces. One battalion of Colonel Tanaka's 229th Infantry Regiment advanced from the frontier, at Sha Tao Kok, towards Fan Ling but decided to take a short cut to Tai Po by way of hill tracks through the Sha Lo Tung Hills.

"Gray alerted his rearguard commander, Captain Ian Blair. Quickly Blair sited every available machine gun to bear upon the thin, rocky trail. Still oblivious, the Japanese marched boldly into the range of Blair's guns. Nearer and nearer they approached, while Blair waited. The target area filled with men and animals [mules]. Finally, he gave the order: Fire! For two minutes every rifle and Bren gun in 'C' Company poured fire into the trapped Japanese column Then slowly the dust and din of fire abated. The air filled with the cheers of the Punjabis. They had drawn first blood."  (Season of Storms Robert L Gandt (1982) p.52).

The Forward Troops achieved their objective of guarding and facilitating the demolitions and engaging the advancing Japanese troops. At Tai Po, it was one company facing a battalion. Major-General Maltby wrote in his Report on Operations that they had "fulfilled their role admirably, and had inflicted some one hundred casualties to the Japanese at no real cost to themselves."

After the surrender Captain Blair was incarcerated at Sham Shui Po (SSP) Camp from 29th December to 20th April 1942, and at Argyle Street Officers Camp from April 1942 to May 1944 and then back to SSP Camp from 1944 until liberation in August 1945. He was repatriated to New Zealand in a very weak condition, but he had survived the fighting and the brutal incarceration and he made it home.

He had joined the Army aged twenty-three, fought in the Battle for Hong Kong aged twenty-six, and after nearly fours years incarceration was released aged thirty, having given most of his twenties to the service of his country. He died aged eighty-three in 1998. The captured sword, which he holds in the photograph,  is now in the proud possession of his grandson. 

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Marie Gwendoline Paterson - Rape of ANS Nurses at Jockey Club Hospital

In December 1941, the Hong Kong Jockey Club grandstand at Happy Valley Racecourse was being used as a Temporary Civilian Hospital. A number of European and Chinese volunteer ANS nurses worked there during the Battle of Hong Kong. As the fighting drew closer, the hospital found itself on the frontline and on Christmas morning when Japanese soldiers entered the hospital a number of the terrified nurses were abused and raped. One of the nurses working there was Marie Peterson. She was forty-five-years-old and worked as a teacher at Queen's College. She managed to escape from the hospital, whilst the abuse of the nurses was going on. She darkened her face, by smearing herself with dirt, and used an Amah's robe and hair covering to disguise herself. Although the colony had surrendered on Christmas Day, the rape and abuse at the Jockey Club hospital carried ion that day and night. In the middle of the night, Marie got out of the building, avoiding the Japanese sentries, and crossed the road into the Colonial Cemetery opposite the Jockey Club stands. She crawled through the cemetery avoiding Japanese patrols and made her way up the steep hillside and eventually reached Bowen Road and the British Military Hospital where she reported to British Authorities what had happened at the hospital. Gwen Dew in Prisoner of the Japs (1942) described her admiration for this brave nurse.
To this woman who risked death to bring help rather than submit to degradation, I offer my highest homage - Marie Paterson, I commend you to the list of heroines of the war.
Marie is also mentioned by Mabel W. Redwood in her autobiography It was like this (2001). Mabel Redwood was an ANS nurse at the Jockey Club Hospital. She recalls the Japanese entering the hospital on Christmas morning with a hostage who they recognised as a well known Anglo-Indian doctor. 

The Jockey Club Grandstand and the cemetery (Source: Racing Memories HK)
Jockey Club Stands and Cemetery (Source: Pinterest)
Marie Da Roza, a young Portuguese nurse recounted the arrival of the Japanese in a deposition she made after the war.
I was standing at the Jockey Club entrance when Dr Arculli was brought in at the point of a revolver, the Japanese soldier had tied a rope round his waist and was using him as a shield. We were taken into the tote and guarded at both ends. Japanese soldiers came pounding in, all day they were taking Chinese nurses upstairs on the first and second floors and when the girls came down alone, one by one, they were crying their eyes out, they had been raped. The nursing sisters did all they could to help them but it was impossible to do anything to prevent them being taken up again and again.
Marie Da Roza testified how the European nurses rolled bandages, whilst some carried on nursing, but all were terrified by what was happening in the hospital and dreading that they would be next. She described how one nurse carried a dead baby for hours in the hope that the Japanese would leave her alone. That night being Christmas night several of the European nurses were dragged away and raped. Marie Da Rosa managed to hide under a camp bed and from her hiding position she could see the Japanese shining torches and dragging girls from under the tables. The ordeal lasted all day and all night. As a result of Marie Paterson's escape, the Director of Medical Services, Dr Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, organised by liaison with the Japanese medical authorities for ambulances to evacuate the hospital including the nurses on 26 December. The nurses were taken to Queen Mary Hospital.  

So who was Marie Paterson and what became of her? I was not able to find out very much, but I discovered she was born in Grenada in the British West Indies. Her parents lived there and I believe her father worked there a medical doctor. She became a school teacher, teaching in Singapore and Hong Kong before the war. She was interned at Stanley Camp until liberation in 1945. In August 1946 she is recorded on passenger lists as travelling from Mombassa to Liverpool. She then appears to have resided in Middlesex from 1946 through to 1953 and appears on electoral rolls during that period. On 31 December 1953, there is a report of her marriage at the Scottish Church in Grenada to war hero, Air Commodore Frederick Laurence Pearce, RAF (Rtd), CBE, DSO, DFC, MiD. He retired from the Air Force in March 1952. She was fifty-seven years old at the time. I believe they settled in Grenada. Frederick Pearce died in December 1975.


I was very happy to receive an email from Katrina Van Pelt, the grandaughter of Air Commodore Frederick (Freddie) Pearce.  She wrote that Marie was a nutmeg heiress. Nutmegs are still an important crop in Grenada and the national flag incorporates a nutmeg. Katrina recalls they lived in Grenada after they were married. They later moved to Spain and after Freddie became ill they moved back to the UK. 

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Stanley Camp and Stanley Photographs

Prison officers Club (1945)

Stanley Village from the hill leading to the fort - a sketch map from 1/Mx war diary (UKNA)

Stanley Prison
Repulse Bay - on the way to Stanley

Stanley Military Cemetery

Maryknoll House 

Sunday 1 October 2017

Boa Vista

The Japanese landed on Hong Kong Island during the night of 18/19 December 1941. A Canadian platoon (No. 5 Platoon HQ Coy Royal Rifles of Canada) commanded by Lt Gerard Williams was deployed on Boa Vista. I assume this was their pre-arranged war-station. Boa Vista is a hill 846 feet above sea-level and commanding the strategic Tai Tam Gap with its military HQ. The military complex at Tai Tam Gap included East Infantry Brigade and East Group Royal Artillery HQ. The Royal Rifles of Canada had their  Battalion HQ at the same location. A path from Boa Vista led to Sanatorium Gap (aka Quarry Gap). This is the gap between Mount Parker and Mount Butler. On the night of the landings, the Japanese battalion that landed at Aldrich Bay proceeded up the north face of Mount Parker, and  then moved in a northwesterly direction, counter clockwise, around the upper levels of Mount Parker to arrive at Mount Parker Road close to PB 45. After overrunning the section at PB 45 they proceeded up to Sanatorium Gap. After a fierce fight, they captured the gap which had been defended by No. 1 Platoon of No. 1 Coy HKVDC.  They then continued uphill to occupy Mount Parker, which was their principal objective. Lt William's Platoon  was ordered up to Mount Parker  from their position on Boa Vista. They followed the path to Sanatorium Gap where they met up with guides sent from the HKVDC positions at Sanatorium Gap. However, when they arrived at the gap there was no sign of the HKVDC, who by that time had been overrun. The Canadian platoon proceeded up Mount Parker only to find the Japanese had occupied the summit and were in much greater strength. The Canadian platoon was destroyed. A second platoon (No. 9 Platoon) from 'A' Coy Royal Rifles of Canada under the command of Lt Collison Blaver was ordered up to Boa Vista to replace Lt William's platoon. Blaver's platoon was later ordered up Mt Parker, where they ran into entrenched Japanese positions and withdrew after suffering a number of casualties.

Map extract showing Boa Vista, Mt Parker and Tai Tam Gap
Boa Vista was a strategic position, and I had always assumed that there would be some evidence of splinter proof military accommodation shelters for a platoon size force of 25 to 30 men. However I had never found any sign of military structures. I then had a call from my friend Sergio Marcal who had found a military splinter-proof shelter at Boa Vista. He had also found a Royal Rifles of Canada cap badge near the wartime military structure.

Cap badge of the Royal Rifles of Canada 
Stuart Woods and I arranged to meet with Sergio Marcal on top of Boa Vista. We climbed up from Tai Tam Gap and Sergio showed us the military structure that must have been used by Lt Williams and later Lt Blaver.

My friend Sergio at the military structure.

The splinter proof shelter on Boa Vista
A structure like this could usually sleep a section of nine men  (three retractable bunks on three walls). The building is hidden in the undergrowth and not visible from the nearby trail. It seemed to be facing the direction of Mount Parker (northwest). Within 20 metres or so there was another structure which was brick-built and did not look like a typical WW2 military structure, this remains a mystery.

The brick-built structure


'D' Coy Royal Rifles of Canada Coy HQ shelters at Obelisk Hill and Brigade HQ at Tai Tam Gap

Obelisk Hill - Coy HQ
I met up with Martin Heyes to visit 'D' Coy Royal Rifles of Canada war shelters at Obelisk Hill. The site consists of a string of accommodation shelters, a kitchen shelter and two military-grade toilet blocks. 'D' Coy RRC was commanded by Major Maurice Parker. These shelters accommodated his Coy HQ and Platoon 16 and 17. His No. 18 Platoon was at Tai Tam Tuk nearby and No 18 (R) Platoon was attached to 'C' Coy in the  Lye Mum Gap area. 'D' Coy 1/Mx also utilised these shelters as Coy HQ and reported to Major Parker. The 1/Mx Coy personnel were based in pillboxes around the coast from San Wan Bay (near Pak Sha Wan Battery) and around the D'Aguilar promontory to Tai Tam Tuk /Tai Tam Bay Area opposite Red Hill.

A string of accommodation shelters at Obelisk Hill

A seldom-used trail led downhill from the bunkers towards Tai Tam Tuk - which would have been the route taken by No. 18 platoon back and forth from Coy HQ.

Kitchen shelter (Obelisk Hill)
Military-grade toilet blockat Obelisk Hill

Tai Tam Gap Military HQ
We also explored the war shelters at Tai Tam Gap. These had accommodated Royal Rifles of Canada Battalion HQ, East Infantry Brigade HQ and East Group Royal Artillery HQ. Particularly striking was the underground bunker which contained the (disused) Fortress Plotting Room which was used by East Brigade as Brigade HQ. Here is the entrance to the underground bunker.

Entrance to underground bunker containing FPR
We followed a series of corridors until we reached the Fortress Plotting Room (FPR) which was used as Brigade HQ. When we reached the Fortress Plotting Room - it was wet with what I assumed to be bat droppings and there were a lot of bats hanging from the roof. Neither of us being particularly partial to bats, we did not stay to properly explore this room or the tunnel leading off it (visible in the photo below) or the side rooms to the left of the tunnel. The tunnel seems to have been an emergency exit and possibly a ventilation feature. The concrete pillars were supports for the large steel plotting table. It was pitch dark and the light in the photo is from our torches and the flash of the camera.

The Fortress Plotting Room (with bats roosting on the ceiling)

Looking towards the emergency exit and ventilation tunnel and the room to the left.

This is what Captain Peter Belton (Staff Captain) had to say about Brigade HQ in the FPR at Tai Tam Gap, which commenced operations on Sunday 14 December following the Brigadier's withdrawal from the Mainland on Saturday 13 December.
The Brigade Office was located in the Plotting Room at Tai Tam in a shell and bomb-proof accommodation. It consisted of one large room and some twenty yards of tunnel. The latter I decided to use as sleeping accommodation for troops and arranged for bunks to be fitted. The officers were to be in outside shelters. The staff, both officers and men, were messed by the  Royal Rifles of Canada. (Captain Belton - Brigade Staff)
Here is Brigadier Wallis commenting on the underground Operations Room at Tai Tam. (Appendix D East Brigade War Diary and courtesy of Rob Weir).
This room was largely occupied by a huge steel table which was useful to work on with maps , but hampered movement. In this room were located:
Brigade Commander
Brigade Major
Staff Captain
2 Operators - Brigade Signals Exchange
Brigade Intel Officer
Three Brigade Clerks. 
In a tiny side-room was the large telephone exchange. In another small room was the emergency lighting plant. The room was reached by a long winding narrow passage into which the Sappers were busy fitting sleeping bunks for staff and Signals personnel. This passage was very dark and crowded at night and it took me some six minutes to leave my maps and numerous telephones and reach East Group RA and 'D' Bn HQ in the shelters up above mine, after threading my way through a maze of camouflage nets and nervous RRC sentries. The atmosphere (in the Brigade office) was heavy and even with the emergency plant working and the air vent open (emergency exit) the air was unhealthy and oppressive and made clear thinking difficult. One became flushed and had bad head aches."
Above the underground bunker that contains the FPR are two or three tiers of splinter proof bunkers used by RRC as Bn HQ and by East Group Royal Artillery.

Kitchen shelter

2nd tier of shelters

3rd (upper) tier of shelters

Overgrown lower-tier shelters
Lower-tier shelters - neglected and overgrown
There are two line-of-gaps pillboxes at Tat Tam HQ and some seventeen splinter-proof shelters. Between Tai Tam Gap military HQ structures and 'D' Coy positions at Obelisk Hill was a group of two shelters one of which is shown in the photo below, which I think may have been the ADS (Advanced Dressing Station).

What may have been the ADS


Saturday 5 August 2017

A reflection on Japanese and German War Crimes (Monthly Blog - Aug 2017)

I had just made a presentation to a class of 12-year olds at an international school in Hong Kong on the subject of the Battle for Hong Kong. I had talked briefly, without going into too much detail, about some of the war atrocities committed in Hong Kong for example the Christmas Day massacre at St Stephen's College Hospital in Stanley in December 1941, when Japanese troops bayoneted patients in their beds, raped European and Chinese nurses, and raped, mutilated and killed three of the European nurses. At the end of the presentation, one of the pupils put her hand up and asked: "Why did the Japanese do such things?" Not surprisingly she found it difficult to reconcile such cruelty with what she knew of Japan and Japanese people today, who are polite and charming, and very different from their forbears who served in the Imperial Japanese Army in the period 1931 to 1945.

I struggled to answer the question because there is no quick or easy answer. I may have mumbled something about us all having the capacity for good and evil within us, and that war crimes were not the preserve of any one country, any one side, or any one people. The Japanese soldier in WW2 was generally brave, a trait we admire, but at the same time shockingly brutal and inhumane. Brigadier John Masters who fought against the Japanese in Burma had this to say of their bravery and brutality.
"They are the bravest people I have ever met. In any armies, any one of them, nearly every Japanese would have had a Congressional Medal or a Victoria Cross. It is the fashion to dismiss their courage as fanaticism, but that only begs the question. They believed in something and they were willing to die for it.  What else is bravery?

They pressed home the attack when no other troops in the world have done so, when all hope of success was gone. ... The Japanese simply came on, using all their skill and rage, until they were stopped by death. In defence,  they held their ground with furious tenacity that never faltered. They had to be killed, company by company, squad by squad, man by man, to the last.
  ... they wrote beautiful little poems in their diaries and practiced bayonet work on their prisoners. Frugal, bestial, barbarous and brave, artistic and brutal."
Japanese troops from 228th Regiment cross the border into Hong Kong
When I first started researching the Battle of Hong Kong I was appalled to read of the horrific war crimes committed by Japanese troops against surrendered soldiers and civilians in locations around Hong Kong which I was so familiar with,  including Stanley, Wong Nai Chung Gap, Blue Pool Road and Repulse Bay. I read the details in the depositions and evidence provided by survivors of these atrocities. Somehow one or two survived some of these atrocities, often despite terrible injuries, and lived  to tell the tale. Two soldiers survived the bayonetting of surrendered soldiers at the Sai Wan AA fort and two soldiers  and one civilian survived the killing of medical orderlies and civilian staff at the Salesian Mission building at Shau Kei Wan. This killing was witnessed by a large number of Japanese troops who were reportedly laughing and enjoying the spectacle of the killing. In the case of the slaughtering of St John Ambulance Brigade civilian orderlies at the Advanced Dressing Station at Wong Nai Chung Gap, none survived, but it was witnessed by others, who were later captured, and some of whom managed to escape.

An Australian POW about to be executed with crowd in the background
Japanese bayoneting Chinese prisoners with crowd in the background

Chinese prisoner used for bayonet practice
When the Pacific War started in December 1941, Japan had already been at war in China for ten years since they  seized Manchuria in 1931. They invaded the rest of China in 1937. The most notorious atrocity occurred in December 1937 when the Japanese Army captured Nanking, the former capital, and killed over 200,000 civilians, including women, children and surrendered soldiers. Some Japanese rightists and revisionist historians have claimed the Rape of Nanking never happened, or that only soldiers were executed, or that the numbers quoted were exaggerated. They claim the women forced into prostitution in Japanese military brothels, known by the euphemism of "comfort women," were willing volunteers. Naturally this causes outrage in many Asian countries.

One former Japanese soldier, Shiro Azuma, who committed war crimes in Nanking, wrote a  book in 1987 entitled "My Nanking Platoon" in which he told of the atrocities he had witnessed, and had participated in, during the war in China. He was one of the few former Japanese soldiers to admit their participation in such killings. His full diary was published in Japan in 2001 and an English version was published in 2006. He made several trips to China to apologise and to atone in some way. He described how Japanese soldiery looked down on the Chinese as being inferior, and in the same way they felt contempt for European Prisoners of War for having surrendered. This contempt made it easier for them to be inhumane.
"We were taught that we were a superior race since we lived only for the sake of a human god  - our Emperor." (Shiro Azuma)
Occasionally they saw something to admire in their enemy. In Hong Kong when the Japanese found the body of Brigadier Lawson outside his bunker, they gave him a proper and decent burial. The idea of such a senior officer being killed in action appealed to them. When the Japanese captured the AA Battery at Stanley Gap, Colonel Doi described how two British soldiers held out, by locking themselves into an ammunition locker.
"Despite all our efforts to persuade them to surrender they refused, so we left them there overnight. The next morning, getting no response to our repeated call, we broke down the door and found that the two had killed themselves with their pistols. We buried these brave men with utmost care in hearty tribute to their souls." (Ex-Col. Doi 228th Infantry Regiment)
This act would have appealed to the Japanese psyche, it would have been seen as death before dishonour, and killing yourself rather than surrendering was the way of the warrior.

Although war crimes trials were held after the war and many were found guilty of war crimes and   subsequently imprisoned or executed; the crimes were too rampant, too commonplace and too deeply ingrained in the culture of the Japanese Army. As a result most perpetrators were never brought to justice. The country as a whole, unlike Germany, never fully atoned, people today are uncomfortable to talk about it, it is considered impolite to raise the subject. The attack on Pearl Harbour and the simultaneous attack on Hong Kong, Philippines and Malaya is still seen by some Japanese as having been a matter of survival. The narrative goes that they were being contained by the western powers, who were applying embargoes on trade and particularly on Japan's oil imports, and insisting they withdraw from Indo-China and from China. Some Japanese attempted to justify the war by saying that their actions helped liberate Asia from European colonialism.  They wanted to replace European colonialism with the Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, Asia for the Asiatics, but under Japanese leadership and control.

It's all a long time ago now, and as they say the past is a foreign country, but the failure to atone, to admit their actions, and to genuinely apologise, is still a major issue and a sensitive subject for many Asian countries today. When I look at the photographs on the internet, like the ones posted above, and reflect on the widespread atrocities inflicted by the Japanese military, at a time that is still within living memory,  I think of that question that I struggled to answer - why did the Japanese behave this way !

German war crimes

The German Army in WW2, especially the Waffen-SS, also committed a large number of atrocities against surrendered soldiers and civilians. The mass genocide of Jewish civilians by Nazi Germany was a depravity unmatched. Nazi Germany was an authoritarian state, which like Japan, believed in racial superiority, and wanted to create a new order in Europe, in the same way that Japan wanted to create a new order in Asia.

With the new Dunkirk film showing in cinemas, I am going to highlight two massacres of surrendered British soldiers which took place in May 1940, during the fighting retreat to Dunkirk by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). 
2nd Bn Coldstream Guards - 1st Guards Brigade arriving in Cherbourg in September 1939
The BEF arrived in France in 1939 and by May 1940 had been built up to 10 Divisions, in three Corps numbering 400,000 men. They were deployed to the Franco-Belgian border. If Germany invaded Belgium and Holland to open the way to Northern France, then British and French troops would move into Belgium to form a line that stretched from the Channel coast to the Maginot Line. On 10th May, German troops invaded the Low Countries and the BEF moved up to their deployment position on the River Dial. The BEF fought very gallantly but against overwhelming odds and were pushed back to the Channel ports. The rescue of the BEF from Dunkirk was an amazing  story. It was described as a miracle of deliverance.

The massacre of surrendered British troops at Le Paradis 27th May 1940 

During the retreat to Dunkirk some ninety-nine men of the 2nd Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment, having been cut off from their Battalion and Brigade, and running low on ammunition surrendered to a Waffen-SS Regiment at the village of Le Paradis. The men were searched and disarmed, then led into a field and executed by machine gun fire. Two men survived Private Albert Pooley and Private William O'Callaghan. At first their tale was not believed.

When they were first captured, and whilst Pooley was being searched, and having items stolen from him, A German soldier took offence to his expression and clubbed him in the face with a rifle butt knocking out four of his teeth. The Germans had mounted two heavy machine guns in the field. When all the men were in the field an order was given to fire. O'Callaghan was shot in the arm. Pooley was shot four times with two bullet wounds in one of his legs. The firing stopped, and there was the sound of moaning from wounded and dying men. Pooley heard the sound of bayonets being fixed and then German soldiers went amongst the wounded men administering the coup de grace with bayonets and rifle fire. O' Callaghan feigned death and was passed by. Pooley lay still but a wounded soldier near him moved and shots were fired. Two of the shots hit Pooley in his already wounded leg. After nightfall, O'Callaghan dragged Pooley away from the field. The following day German soldiers forced French villagers to bury the dead. Pooley and O'Callaghan found shelter amongst some war damaged farm buildings. They survived by eating raw potatoes and drinking water from puddles. They were discovered by a French woman, Madame Duquenne-Creton who owned the ruined farm. She cleaned and bandaged their wounds and fed them.  In fear of reprisals, the head of the French village informed the Germans of the presence of the two wounded British soldiers. They were well treated by their German captors, from the regular German Army, who took them to a military hospital.

William O'Callaghan was sent to a POW camp in Poland. Albert Pooley remained in hospital in Germany until 1943 at which time he was repatriated to England. On return he told military officials about the massacre at Le Paradis but nobody believed him. They could not accept that the German Army would behave in such a manner. It was not until after the war, when O'Callaghan was repatriated, and confirmed the story given by Pooley that an official investigation began. The Commander of the unit was Lt-Col Fritz Knoechlein. 

Lt-Col Fritz KnoechleinAdd caption
Knoechlein survived the war and was traced in Germany, arrested and brought to trial in October 1948. He pleaded not-guilty on the grounds that he was not present at the execution although he did not deny the execution took place. His defence also claimed the execution was justified because the British were using dum-dum bullets and had misused a flag of truce. O'Callaghan and Pooley both gave evidence at the British Military Court in Hamburg, as did Madame Duquenne-Creton and another villager from Le Paradis.
O'Callaghan and Pooley at War Crimes Trials in Hamburg
Knoechlein was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 29th January 1949. A book entitled "The Vengeance of Private Pooley" written by Cyril Jolly was published in 1956 which describes the fighting around Le Paradis, the killing, and finally the long awaited vengeance. However, no other German soldier, not the machine gunners, nor the soldiers administering the coup de grace, nor the officers or senior NCOs that were present, were brought to trial. Some of them got away with murder.

The massacre of surrendered British troops at Wormhaudt 28th May 1940

Despite its Germanic name, Wormhoudt is a small town situated in Northern France about 12 miles southeast of Dunkirk and six miles west of the Belgian border.  In May 1941 it was on the route taken by the BEF as they fought a fighting retreat back to the Channel ports to try and avoid being cut off. The British troops consisted of members of 2nd Bn Royal Warwickshire Regiment, 4th Bn Cheshire Regiment and Worcestershire Yeomanry. They formed part of the 48th Division. Facing superior numbers, and having depleted their ammunition, a group of about one hundred surrendered  to an SS unit - the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler. This SS unit formed part of the lead troops of the 20th Motorised Division supported by 10th Panzer Division. The surrendered soldiers were taken to a nearby barn. The SS guards acted brutally, killing wounded stragglers on the way to the barn, and beating soldiers with rifle butts. Once the prisoners were in the barn, the SS troops threw grenades into the building. In an act of self sacrifice two British NCO's Sgt Stanley Moore and CSM Augustus Jennings threw themselves on grenades to protect their men from the fragmentation blast. The guards then ordered the British to come out in groups of five, and these were then shot. A few survived including Gunner Brian Fahey who was in one of the groups of five called outside. He was shot in the back, but survived, and later managed to crawl back into the barn where there were still a number of wounded men who had survived the carnage. The senior British officer Captain Lynn-Allen died whilst trying to escape. During the massacre 80 men were killed and 15 were wounded of the wounded only six survived. Later the group of wounded men in the barn, including Gunner Fahey, were found by regular  German soldiers and given treatment for their wounds.

Wilhelme Mohnke
The officer commanding the SS unit which carried out this massacre was Wilhelm Mohnke. He never faced trial and denied that he gave orders to execute prisoners of war. The matter was referred to the War Crimes Unit, but it was a found there were insufficient grounds on which to conduct a trial against Mohnke. A number of SS witnesses had died on the Eastern Front and others refused to talk or testify - invoking the SS oath.  In 1988 Jeff Rooker, a Member of Parliament started a campaign to have the case re-opened, but this was unsuccessful on grounds of insufficient evidence. Mohnke lived out his life in Germany and died aged ninety in August 2001. Some would say he got away with murder. 

Wednesday 12 July 2017

HMS Thanet

HMS Thanet was ordered in 1917 from the Tyneside ship builders Hawthorn Leslie, a company established  in 1866 by the amalgamation of A. Leslie & Co. (shipbuilders) at Hebburn-on-Tyne and R & W Hawthorn (locomotive manufacturers) at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She was one of 67  S-class destroyers ordered for the Royal Navy during WW1. Her keel was laid down in December 1917. She was completed and launched on 5 November 1918,  just a week before the First World War  ended. She completed her sea trials and was commissioned in August 1919.

HMS Thanet
Thanet displaced 1,075 tons and had a top speed of 36 knots. She was equipped with three quick firing (QF) 4-inch guns, one forward, one amidships (between the funnels) and one astern. In addition she had a pom-pom gun for AA defence, and two sets of twin torpedoes tubes. She had a normal complement of around ninety-six men and six officers. Her pennant number was H29, and her motto in hoc signo vinces, translated from the Latin as in this sign thou shalt conquer. After commissioning, Thanet was used for trials of aircraft platforms on warships, presumably with the platform extended over her lengthy stern section. In December 1919, she visited the Isle of Thanet in North East Kent. A British Pathé film clip records the officers and men visiting Ramsgate, at which time time, the civic authorities of Thanet, and the three main towns of Margate, Ramsgate, and presumably Broadstairs, presented the ship with silverware to mark the occasion. 
   After the carnage of the First World War, the League of Nations had been established with the object  of ensuring peace through a combination of dispute resolution, disarmament, and arms control. People believed that the Great War had been the war to end all wars. Troops were de-mobilised, and ships were de-commissioned. HMS Thanet was a brand new warship, but the war was over and she was surplus to needs, and in 1921, Thanet was mothballed and placed in the reserve fleet. I have not been able to find out  how long she spent in the reserve fleet, but in 1939 she was dispatched to the Far East where she joined the small RN force based in Hong Kong. She was commanded by Lt-Cdr John Mowlam from February 1939 until April 1941, at which time Lt-Cdr Bernard Davies took command of the Hong Kong-based destroyer. 

  Jaunty caps, well turned out, good drill - the ship's company of HMS Thanet at the march-past in pre-war Hong Kong
At the time the Pacific War started there were three S-class destroyers stationed in Hong Kong. These were HMS Thanet,  HMS Scout and HMS Thracian. There were eight MTBs and four river gunboats. The largest gunboats were HMS Cicala and HMS Moth, which were surprisingly well armed with two 6-inch guns, one 3-inch high angle (HA) gun, and a pom-pom gun. There were a variety of boom defence vessels, and the minelayer HMS Redstart, which was used for laying contact mines, remote controlled mines and indicator loops. There were a number of converted launches and tugs, described as auxiliary patrol vessels (APVs) and manned by the HKRNVR. They were used for conducting minefield patrols, minesweeping and war patrols. The APVs were slow and lightly armed and once war started they were of little use militarily.
   The main naval and military presence in the Far East was in Singapore. Hong Kong was seen as an isolated outpost and a strategic liability. Churchill knew it could not be defended. It was too close to Japanese aircraft bases in Formosa and Southern China, and the Japanese had several divisions across the border in southern China. This explains the weakness of the Royal Navy and RAF in Hong Kong in the lead up to war. On the day war started, 8 December, 1941, Thracian, which had been converted into a minelayer role by clearing its rear gun and adding minelaying racks to its stern-quarters, was laying mines in Port Shelter guarded by Thanet. HMS Scout was in dry-dock at Tai Koo  having its bottom plates cleaned. HMS Moth and HMAPV Margaret were in dry-dock at the RN dockyard. These two vessels never got out of dock, and were later scuttled in the flooded dock, and played no part in the battle.
   In the event of war breaking out, there was a standing plan that Thanet and Scout would sail to Singapore and join Force Z, which had arrived in Singapore on 2 December 1941, and consisted of  the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, the battlecruiser HMS Repulse together with their escort destroyers. This plan had been agreed with the US naval authorities and included a commitment in return for some US warships to be sent to Singapore.
   After nightfall on Monday 8 December Scout and Thanet sailed through the gates of the anti-submarine  boom at Lye Mun. Since Lt-Cdr  Davies on Thanet was more senior than Lt-Cdr Lambton on Scout,  Thanet took the lead as senior ship. While on passage to Manila they spent some time looking for SS Ulysses which had left Hong Kong on Sunday with passengers bound first for Manila and Singapore. Ulysses had sent a distress signal after being bombed and strafed by Japanese aircraft on Monday. She was undamaged and changed course for Singapore. She arrived safely in Singapore, but was sunk by a U-boat off the Carolinas while on passage to UK.

SS Ulysses - the story of a

After docking in Manila the destroyer crews learnt that Prince of Wales and Repulse had been sunk by Japanese aircraft. The task force had been sent up the east coast of Malaya to intercept Japanese landings but lacked air cover. The new aircraft carrier HMS Indomitable should have been part of Force Z, but was being repaired following damage caused by a grounding whilst in the Caribbean Sea. The two destroyers then proceeded to Batavia, now known as Jakarta, and thence to Singapore arriving on 13 December.
   The two destroyers were involved initially in escort work around the Straits of Singapore. On Christmas Day Thanet was sent out on an SOS mission to pick up the crew of a Catalina flying boat that had been shot down by Japanese AA fire. The crew were picked up by a Dutch submarine before Thanet arrived. On 26 January 1942, a Japanese troop convoy was reported approaching Endau, on the southeast coast of Malaya, north of the town of Mersing, and by leap-frogging down the coast by use of troop landings, the Japanese Army were outflanking the British and getting closer to Singapore.

Map showing location of Endau relative to Singapore
The Japanese vessels and their destroyer escorts were attacked first by nine RAF Lockheed Hudson bombers and twelve Vickers Vildebeests. The Vildebeests were obsolete torpedo bombers with a maximum speed of not much more than 100 mph. The attack was not successful and five of the outdated Vildebeests were shot down. 
Lockheed Hudson 

Later that day, on 26 January, HMS Thanet and HMAS Vampire were ordered to sail from Singapore to intercept the Japanese convoy at Endau some eighty miles north of Singapore.  In the early hours of 27 January they sighted a Japanese warship, thought to be a destroyer, and Vampire fired at her with torpedoes, which missed the target. The Japanese vessel turned out to be a minesweeper and the torpedoes probably passed underneath her shallow hull. A short while later they sighted the  Japanese destroyer IJN Shirayuki, and Vampire fired two more torpedoes which also missed their target. Thanet then launched her four torpedoes, which also missed. The two Allied destroyers then engaged the Japanese vessels with their 4-inch QF guns. Shirayuki was joined by the Japanese cruiser Sendai. Outgunned and outnumbered, the two Allied destroyers started to withdraw towards the southeast. At 0400 hours Thanet was hit in the engine room, lost propulsion and was brought to a stop. Vampire commenced laying a protective smokescreen, but it was too late, Thanet was immobilised and was already sinking. The Japanese destroyers, Fubuki, Hatsuyuki, Asagiri, Amagiri, and Yugiri closed in for the kill. Thanet sunk within fifteen minutes of being hit. Vampire was undamaged, but facing a strong Japanese naval force, had no opportunity to assist Thanet, and accordingly, she disengaged and sailed back to Singapore.
   After the order was given to abandon ship,  there was enough time for most of Thanet's  crew to get off the ship and into the water. Many were able to get aboard the Carley floats, others hanging on to floating debris, they started paddling, and pushing their rafts towards the East Malayan coast. Reports suggest that the Shirayuki picked up thirty-one of Thanet's crew members. They were landed at Endau and handed over to the Japanese Army. None of these men were seen again and it is assumed they were all executed by the Japanese possibly as an act of retaliation for Japanese losses in an ambush carried out by Australian troops. One of the Thanet officers, Sub-Lt R.H. Danger, the ship's Torpedo Officer, remained on Shirayuki, it is not clear why; perhaps he was wounded, perhaps they wanted to interrogate him as to presence of minefields. He was later interned in Indochina, and he survived the war.
   The web site for Force-Z survivors (, details some one hundred and thirteen crew members, including some Chinese stewards and cooks, and identifies those that were killed in action on 27 January 1941. There are thirty-seven Thanet crew listed as killed and their details are also shown in Commonwealth War Graves Commissions records. Thirty of those thirty-seven listed as killed on 27 January must have been in the group picked up by Shirayuki and the remaining seven may have perished when the ship sank, or they may have failed to make it ashore and drowned,  or, they may have died whilst trying to make their way south to Singapore.
   Some seventy-six members of the crew survived the sinking, and made it to the shore including the commanding officer. A large number, reports suggest more than fifty, of the crew made it back to Singapore ahead of the surrender of Singapore on 15 February 1942. Five crew members are listed as having died in POW Camps. Some of the POWs may have been caught in Singapore at the surrender, some may have been captured in Malaya whilst trying to escape south to Singapore.
   When the survivors reached the shore they became widely dispersed. Few of them had any footwear or much clothing. They all headed southwards determined to get back to Singapore more than eighty miles away. Some went along the jungle shore following the coast. Some found boats. Some went along roads through the jungle towards Johore. The survivors ran into various RAF aircrew who had been shot down, and who were also heading south for the relative safety of Singapore with the Japanese relentlessly advancing behind them. Sgt Charles MacDonald had been shot down in his Vildebeest, most likely in the attack on the same group of Japanese landing ships and destroyers at Endau. He recalled coming across a number of Thanet survivors. They joined up and made their way through the jungle to Singapore. Sgt Harry Lockwood had been shot down in a Fairy Albacore. He met up with six Thanet survivors who were heading for Singapore. Two RAF officers who had ditched their aircraft north of Mersing, found a boat which they used to cross the Mersing River. They then ran into a group of Thanet survivors. They joined up, and used the boat to go south, rowing at night and sleeping ashore during the day. They were eventually picked up by a coaster and taken to Singapore. In another incident, RAF pilot John Fleming had ditched in the sea. He swam ashore and started heading south. He swam the Mersing River and after continuing southwards came across a large group of Thanet survivors, some of which he recalled had been badly injured. They found a whaler and used the boat to sail down the coast. At one point they were hailed by another group of Thanet survivors who were with two aircrew from a shot-down Vildebeest. They were taken onboard the whaler and the escapees continued down the coast eventually reaching Singapore.
   Between fifty and sixty survivors trickled back to Singapore all having made incredible escapes, some by land and some by sea. The Naval Historical Society of Australia web site states that some of the survivors were allocated to HMS Stronghold and HMS Sultan. The former was another S-class destroyer which was sank in March 1942, the latter was the RN shore base in Singapore. Other sources state that a number of Thanet survivors together with other Force Z survivors got away on HMS Endeavour which was reportedly one of the last evacuation ships to get away from Singapore before the surrender.

The gallant Thanet (Naval Historical Society of Australia)
It has been difficult putting this story together, particularly as it relates to the escape to Singapore and the fate of the survivors. As usual I would appreciate any comments, corrections or additional information that I can include in this post. As for the gallant Thanet, she still rests in that watery grave off the east coast of Malaysia. Recreational divers have reported diving on Thanet, lying at a depth of some 20 metres, and stating that she was immediately recognisable, although broken in two, by her three sets of single barrelled 4-inch guns, which still stand, and still seem to whisper by this sign I will conquer. 


Ship's Company Details:

Danger, Richard Henry
He was born I'm Lynton, Devon on 5 April 1918.  He was a Merchant Navy Officer and a member of RNR. He enlisted in 1936. On Thanet he acted as Torpedo officer. He was held on board the Japanese destroyer Shirayuki. Thereafter he was incarcerated in POW camps in French Indochina and in Singapore and Thailand. He married Alexandra De Veer in Jan 1949. He died in London in December 1997.

Flint, Francis Murray
Andrew Glynn kindly sent me a wartime press cutting from the Daily Telegraph (date not confirmed) regarding Lt Francis Flint, RNVR. He had managed to get evacuated from Singapore after he and a petty officer and 17 ratings managed to sail and row a raft down the coast. They received food and water from a village.  Flint mentions AB Barber as being in their group. They were given five canoes. At one point they were  guided to a British Army camp but when they got their they found it had been evacuated. They returned to the canoes. They joined up with another canoe in which was the Yeoman of Signals, the ship's cook and a stoker all from Thanet. They then got hold of a sampan and paddled to a fishing village  where they were given a mast and sail and finally reached Singapore. Lt Flint was the son of an artist Russell Flint. Francis Flint had artistic ability and in 1943 (after return to the UK) he painted a water colour depicting the loss of Thanet. This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy.

Johnston, William (1916-2007) SSX 25688
He joined the Royal Navy 25 May 1938. He served in RN shore establishment at Chatham HMS Pembroke (1938/1939). He sailed to Hong Kong on the County Class heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (15/3/39-25/5/39). He dived into the water following the order to abandon ship and was picked up by one of the Carley floats and reached the shore. When they got ashore they found a small boat. They were later were picked up by a whaler (ship's boat) and sailed to Singapore. He was evacuated from Singapore on board HMAS Hobart and taken to Batavia (Jakarta) from where he sailed on the troopship HMT Dunera to Colombo, Ceylon. On return to UK he joined the submarine service, serving on submarines including HMS Scorcher and HMS Unruly. He was promoted to Petty Officer. After the war he served in the Merchant Navy. He never forgot his time on Thanet, the battle at Emdau and the escape to Singapore. He passed away in 2007 aged 91. He left four daughters one of whom, Lorrain Johnston, has kindly provided me with information about her father's war time experiences.

Mowlem, John 
Commanding officer from 1939 until April 1941. John Mowlem's son contacted me and advised that his father is shown in the photograph as the officer leading the march-past by the ship's company (see above).  He thinks the occasion was the King's Birthday Parade. 

Rix, Leslie Herbert Samuel (1918-1942) C/SSX 17513
Leslie Rix was born 21 June 1918 in Sparham, Aylsham, Norfolk. His mother was Winifred May Charlotte Rayner. His step father was Clifford Ernest Rayner. Leslie Rix died aged 23 following the sinking of HMS Thanet  in January 1942. He gave an address at Abbey Lodge, Thetford, Norfolk. He left his assets to his mother Winifred Rayner. He was survived by two bothers Jack Levi Rayner, who served in the Royal Artillery in India and Burma, and Allen Albert Rayner who served in the Green Howard's Yorkshire Regiment. They had exaggerated their age in order to enlist and serve. 

L/S Leslie Rix (Courtesy Sam Rayner)

Trevett, Alexander (Alec) Y
Alexander Trevett joined the Royal Navy in November 1930 aged fifteen. He was serving in Hong Kong before the war (1938/39) with the gunboats before transferring to HMS Thanet. He survived the sinking and made it to shore in the ship's skiff with several other crew members. He made it down the coast (80 miles) to Singapore and was evacuated on one of the last ships to leave Singapore. He continued to serve in the RN throughout the remainder of WW2. After the war he joined the Royal New Zealand Navy.

A/B Alexander Trevett (Courtesy Keith Trevett)

Last Name First Names Rank Date of Death Commentary
Armstrong Thomas James A/B KIA 27/1/1942 KIA Battle of Endau
Bailey Horace Norman Warrant Officer Survived survived
Barber G.S. A/B survived
Barron Albert L/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Bates C. A/B survived
Bicknell Allen survived
Bonner Henry Walter Albert A/B Died as POW 31/1/1942 Died in POW Camp 
Bowen Raymond A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Brady Ernest Jones A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Brainbridge J.G.  A/B survived
Brett V. PO Sto. survived
Britt Noel A/B POW - Survived
Brown ABF PO Sto. survived
Calder Alexander Andrew A/B survived
Cannon A. A/B survived
Cawkwell Frank Richard A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Cheshire Joseph A/B survived
Combden Edward A/B survived
Connor J.C. PO Sto. survived
Cornwell Edward A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Craig P.L. L/S survived
Crawford Stanley. A/B survived
Currie Sidney James PO 27/1/1942 KIA
Danger Richard Henley Sub- Lt POW - Survived Reportedly was picked up by IJN Shirayuki and remained on board when others were taken off and was held in POW Camp in Dutch East Indies and survived internment. 
Davey Patrick Vere Mollan Sub- Lt survived
Davies Bernard Sydney  Lt-Cdr survived Commanding Officer
Dean Cecil Rowland Delamotte O/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Dickens George ERA survived Elsewhere shown as Lt (E)
Durman Frederick PO Sto. 27/1/1942 KIA
East T. O/S survived
English Robert James PO Stwd 27/1/1942 KIA
Fearn Sydney PO survived
Flint Francis Murray Russell Lt survived
Flux E.B. CERA survived
Foale William  O/S survived
Frost Herbert Leonard O/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Fry James Ronald A/B 15/1/1941 Died in POW Camp
Fryatt John Alfred William PO Tel. 27/1/1942 KIA
Fung Hing Cook survived Chinese crew
Gallacher David Anderson A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Gammond A.S. A/B survived
Gibson W.A. L/S survived
Gilbert James Edwin O/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Gilmour W. Tel. survived
Glyde Robert L/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Grant W.L. l/Tel survived
Greenwood W Cook survived
Harling George Frederick PO survived
Hearsum Edward John O/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Higby Phillip Ralph CERA 27/1/1942 KIA
Hucklin L. A/B survived
Hull A.W. L/S survived
Hutchison George Moir Dorian Lt. Cdr survived
Ings William George Rowland Yeoman of Signals survived
Jarvis C. O/S survived
Joel J.E. A/B survived
Johnston William A/B survived
Jackson Ronald Ernest O/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Jones George Arthur Lt 27/1/1942 KIA
Jones R.C.  O/S survived
Kee ? Sto. survived Chinese 
Kenny Lionel Desmond Bryan Lt survived
Keys Raymond Gorddon L/Stwd 27/1/1942 KIA
Kirby F. O/S survived
Lamb B. O/Tel survived
Lysaught Edward St.Ledger Sto.2. 27/1/1942 KIA
Margison Charles Stwd. 27/1/1942 KIA
Marrs J. A/B Survived
McGrath Milton Albert A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
McKenna John A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Mechen J.  Stoker survived
Medhurst Alan A/B 31/1/1942 Died as POW 
Morgan J. Stoker survived
Monk Jonathan James Sto.1. 27/1/1942 KIA
O' Brien John Patrick Sto.2. survived
Okines Leonard Arthur Sto.1. 27/1/1942 KIA
Paul E. PO Sto. survived
Pengelly Ronald George Arnold A/B 27/1/1942 KIA
Pink R.  A/B survived
Poland Harry William A/B survived
Porter F. Sto. 1 survived
Potter G.P. L/S survived
Powell R.J. A/B survived
Press William C. ERA survived
Price R. O/Sigm survived
Rix Leslie Herbert Samuel L/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Roberts Sidney O/Sigm survived
Robertson J.C. Sto. 1 survived
Robertson T. Sto. 1 survived
Rowley Algernon O/Sigm survived
Sheppard Reginald Nelson CPO 31/1/1942 Died as POW
Smith Charles James Sto.1. 27/1/1942 KIA
Smyth John Richard WO Gunner survived
Stephen Alexander Taylor L/S 27/1/1942 KIA
Symons Herbert Joseph A/B 26/1/1942 KIA
Su Tai Cheung Stwd. survived Chinese Steward
Tall Arthur Joseph L/Stoker 26/1/1942 KIA
Taylor A.E. Sto.2. survived
Taylor V.T. Sto. 1 survived
Thomas Cecil Pinder A/B 5 31/1/1942 Died as POW
Trevett A.Y.  A/B survived       
Trice Frederick L/Stoker 26/1/1942 KIA
Turner Stanley Robert L/S 26/1/1942 KIA
Vaughn Arthur R Tel. survived
Warrender W. Sig. survived
Watkins Raymond James ERA 26/1/1942 KIA
Watmore Charles Maurice Sto. 1 26/1/1942 KIA
Wharmby A. Sto. 1 survived
Williams William George PO Sto. 26/1/1942 KIA
Wilsher Albert Leonard A/B 37 26/1/1942 KIA
Wilson J. Sto. 1 survived
Wong Ah San Stwd. survived Chinese 
Wood J.H.  A/B survived
Young Albert. E PO 71 POW - Survived
Ship's Company 113
Died as POW          5 
KIA 37
Survived 71
Sources: www.forcez-survivor web 
CWGC Web site